I was first introduced to comics by my dad. It started with a Spider-Man obsession, like with many younger kids. Over time, it developed, and I got more interested in characters like the Avengers, the X-Men, Hawkman, the Flash, and others.
It's worth mentioning that he also introduced me to Bleeding Cool, has been a longtime reader, and helped point me in the direction of the site when I was looking for writing jobs.
There was one particular hero whom my dad loves more than any other, and it's a hero that has stuck with me since my first introduction into comics, too.
That hero is Steve Rogers, Captain America.
My dad absolutely loves Captain America. Cap has been his favorite hero since he first started reading comics. Ironically, he started off with the original "Secret Empire" story in Captain America & The Falcon.
I decided, in honor of the 4th of July, the American Day of Independence, I would interview the biggest Captain America fan I know: my dad.
For those who don't celebrate the day, this is still a worthwhile read to see someone who followed the comics and the character this long talk about Steve Rogers.
To preface this, he and his perception of comics shaped much of my worldview, how I read comic books, and what I value in the medium. Though our political views do vary from one another a fair amount, I know that he sees the best in people, genuinely loves his fellow human beings, and wants nothing but the best for the world.
Without further ado, let's begin the interview proper.
Joshua: When did you first discover Captain America?
Dad: Around age 7 — early 1970's.
J: What about Captain America initially appealed to you?
D: Captain America #171 was my first issue. How could you not fall in love with that? A man wearing the red-white-and-blue, standing up for what's right in the world; the American ideal.
J: Did you ever stop reading?
D: 77-78, the Onslaught-Heroes Reborn era, and when Rick Remender took over during Marvel NOW! I haven't been back since.
J: What turned you away at those times?
D: Stories weren't as good [in 77-78], the art was kind of bad, was growing up a little, becoming more interested in girls instead of comics [laughs]. I didn't like the Counter-Earth aspect of the Onslaught story. Remender's stories dragged on without any indication when it would end.
J: So what do you think of Secret Empire?
D: It's very disappointing that they took the American hero, the man who stood for everything America should be, and had Hydra turn him into a fascist leader, which goes against everything he has stood for.
J: So is the Red Skull your favorite Cap villain?
D: Hmm, yeah he is.
J: What's your favorite writer and run?
D: The Mark Gruenwald run in the 1980s, definitely.
J: What would you like to see from Captain America in the future?
D: A return to him fighting for the American Dream.
J: Would you say the movies capture the spirit of the character?
D: Yes, absolutely.
And that was my interview with my father, the man who got me into superhero comics and has been the world's biggest Captain America fan for the past 40 years. Even when the comics haven't delivered what he wanted to see from the Sentinel of Liberty, his love of the character has never wavered.
Happy American Independence Day!